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By The Skanner News
Published: 03 February 2012

PHOENIX (AP) -- Lawyers for the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office say they'll meet Monday with U.S. Department of Justice attorneys over federal accusations of civil rights violations.

Federal officials say they're willing to negotiate ways to reform the sheriff's office in Arizona's most populous county. They claim Sheriff's Joe Arpaio's office racially profiles Latinos, bases immigration enforcement on racially charged citizen complaints and punishes Hispanic jail inmates for speaking Spanish.

Arpaio has long denied the racial profiling allegation. He called the Justice Department's scathing Dec. 15 report a politically motivated attack by the Obama administration that will make Arizona unsafe by keeping illegal immigrants on the street.

In a Jan. 17 letter to an Arpaio attorney, Assistant U.S. Attorney General Thomas Perez said MCSO appeared to be trying to delay the meeting.

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